“I have a vague recollection of having met you somewhere before, too,” she replied with a detached coolness that belied her racing heart and clammy palms to the unexpected but welcome interruption to her shopping by one of the most attractive men she’d ever met.
“What?! No!” she desperately exclaimed just after two of the three bank tellers suddenly and without warning flourished “Next Teller, Please” signs and left to do Heaven-knows-what.
This, just after the debacle at Starbuck’s whereupon she stood waiting at the register for five agonizing moments -watching all six employees do whatever the hell they do other than deal with the customers (which is why she had banned going there years ago until in a moment of weakness she decided to give them one last try) – before raising her voice in an attempt to get service, which was a humiliating, abysmal failure.
Taking these events as signs she was just not meant to be in the world today, she scurried back to her apartment, back to safety and the surety of the attention of her cats, both of whom adored her unremittingly and vied to be in her presence 24/7.
“Yeah, typical,” she said to no one in particular, as she entered the last room of her day that needed cleaning to find it looking as if it had been ransacked by the CIA, fallen victim to yet another collegiate tsunami.
As she surveyed the wreckage, she knew that she’d never be done in time to make her class at the local community college.
“If only,” she said, shaking her head, as visions of somehow wreaking havoc on those who so thoughtlessly tore through her hometown every March ignited enough of an impetus to begin the work necessary to restore the room to occupancy.
“Allow me to offer my observations from my assay of the umbrella etiquette out here on the New York City Streets,” she said sardonically to no one in particular and everyone at once.
“None of you know how to navigate with this appendage. Work with me people!!”
And with that, she resolutely pressed her lips together and set back out into the treacherous sea of weaponry her fellow urban dwellers were unconsciously wielding, a lone champion amongst the heathens.
“Oh no, I must insist you that you sit down and let me do it,” she said to no one in particular as she began to scrape the remnants of her Stouffer’s lasagna microwave dinner from its plastic container into the garbage can, shaking her head in playful admiration at the gallantry of the imaginary man who often joined her for dinner.
And with one long last look after him as he left the diner, Mary Johnson put the leftover change in the till and then shook her head, bewildered, once again, at the ever-baffling behaviors of the human race.
“I really sympathize with you,” she said to no one in particular, the sarcasm dripping almost as low as the unlit Virginia Slims that teeter-tottered off her crimson-painted lips, as she scooped up the three cents’ change meant as her tip from the couple who’d sat at one of her best window tables for the better part of the evening, drinking top shelf gin martinis, holding out until the owner had to flicker the lights to get them to rouse themselves.
She’d expected that they’d leave a decent tip for tying up her table, but alas, the man had mumbled something lame about having thought he’d had more cash on him before lamely leaving $40 for the $39.97 bill.
With a shake of her head, she threw the pennies into the penny cup by the register and went out back to light her cigarette and further contemplate mankind.
“Allow me to offer my most profuse apologies…not!” Frank shouted after the big, black Buick as it pulled away from the station.
He began to chuckle at his own cleverness, eventually cracking himself up, riding its euphoric wave before degenerating into a coughing jag which felt like karmic payback.
And just like that, he clammed up again to his usual monosyllabic existence at the pump.
“If I’d had any inkling this was gonna happen, I’d never have ________”
worn these high-heeled shoes.
tried the fish instead of the beef.
had that fourth martini.
said what I was really thinking.
bent down to pick up that dollar bill.
agreed to a second date in the first place.
“I got my trill, on Blueberry Hill,” she spoke-sang under her breath before going into a fit of giggles that took her an unexpectedly long time to recover from, almost three vehicles going through the toll.
All this in response to voice of the driver of an old, long, black Cadillac whose purply-blue hued hair was rivaled only by the vibrating lilt of her sung “Have a nice day!” after she slowed to hand her $1.75 in coins to Jeannetta’s gloved outstretched hand.
It was moments like this that kept her job interesting, and she shook her head in awed appreciation before returning her attention to her half-eaten baloney sandwich.